Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Thoughts on translation, Part 2: What IS the original language?

Song of Solomon: timeless love poetry in contemporary calligraphy.  
Scripture in Greek.  

Turning a translation--of poem, prose, or scripture--into calligraphic art gives you the opportunity to fine-tune the words in English. Despite all precautions, text is a man-made approximation, in a human language, of what God said and did.  Scripture is about the God we worship, not an object to be worshipped itself.*  The language is not as important as the thought.   

Much of the Bible has passed through half a dozen other languages on its way to English—Biblical Hebrew to Aramaic to ancient Greek to Latin… 
Scribes also modified the text with contractions, abbreviations, ligatures, and, inevitably, mistakes. Some of these got passed along to the next generation.   

Calligraphy is no longer the only way the Bible gets transmitted, so word variations are now no threat to its continuity.  The scribe is freed up from copying, to focus on creating.  When you design a work of modern letter art using ancient text, you are also entitled to choose which translation you use in the service of clarity and unity.  
* The KJV scholars declared that they "never thought from the beginning that [they] should need to make a new translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one, ... but to make a good one better."  They also give their opinion of previous English Bible translations, stating, “…[even] the very meanest translation of the Bible in English containeth the word of God, nay, is the word of God."

1 comment:

  1. All those translations, all those subtle -- and not so subtle -- meanings; Oh, the context of it all! Is it not fun?!
    Bill B.